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Will You Pay Rs 2,600 To Travel On Mum-Ahd Bullet Train?

IndiaSpend Team,
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The Ahmedabad Duronto Express, currently the fastest train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, takes six hours and fifteen minutes to cover the distance.


A proposed bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will need to carry 88,000 to 118,000 passengers per day to be able to pay off loans with interest, a new study has revealed.


For perspective, the Eden Gardens cricket stadium in Kolkata, the largest in India and second-largest in the world, has a capacity of 66,000.


The plan is to run a bullet train at 240 kilometres per hour (kmph), reducing travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad (534 km) to two hours from the present eight.


“Few high-speed rail (HSR) schemes like the Tokaido (Tokyo-Osaka) and Sanyo Shinkansen (which combined had 207 million passengers in 2011), and the TGV Sud-Est (Paris-Lyon) have made financial returns,” said the working paper of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. “In China, of four recent openings studied, only the Jinan-Qingdao line is covering (sic) financial costs. These have first year usage in excess of 20 million passengers per annum”.


The study considered operating ratios–the ratio of operating costs to revenue–of 20% and 40% to arrive at the required train capacity.


Six hours saved = Rs 2,000 more.


The study considered an approximate travel cost of Rs 5 per km per passenger. After accounting for travel over shorter distances along the same line, an average fare of Rs 1,500 per passenger (for 300 km) was considered.


This means a first-class ticket from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on the bullet train will cost Rs 2,670, said the study.


The current cost of a first-class railway ticket from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is typically Rs 660, while a second class ticket costs Rs 180.


This means a passenger will save about six hours on a bullet train, but the journey will cost Rs 2,000 more.


On the other hand, a flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, which takes about 75-80 minutes, typically costs anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 in the economy class, but the timings may not always be suitable for passengers.


88,000 passengers = three bullet trains every hour in each direction


“Typically one train carries 800 passengers, so to carry 88,000 passengers daily, you will need to take a total 100 trips, or 50 trips each way,” G Raghuram, a professor at IIM Ahmedabad and a co-author of the study, was quoted as saying in this Indian Express report. “So, we need three trains every hour in each direction.”


A doctoral dissertation by T Ramakrishnan, quoted in the IIM Ahmedabad study, estimated that the 48 million passengers will use the line every year, by 2025.


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  1. rithu Reply

    April 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    A 1AC ticket from Mumbai to Ahmedabad costs approximately Rs 1900 now.
    A 2AC ticket from Mumbai to Ahmedabad costs approximately Rs 1100 now.
    A 3AC ticket costs Rs 780.
    A SL ticket costs Rs 300.

    (source: irctc.co.in)

    How did you get Rs 660 and Rs 180 in your calculation? This is the rate for 2S and CC ticket rate.

    Most people prefer to travel in sleeper class for the 7 hour journey. So, ideally you should have compared with 1 AC and 2 AC tickets rather than chair car rate. You should have at least mentioned these facts too (especially because you are a fact-checking site). Please correct your facts to avoid creating “perceptions”, unless that is your intention.

    • Karthik Madhavapeddi Reply

      May 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Rithu,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, rates for 2S and chair car have been considered. Comparing the rates with 1AC or 2AC is incorrect, since they provide a service beyond a bullet train may provide.

      The idea is to show that, all things remaining constant, someone spending Rs X more saves T hours.

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